"This province has been put on credit watch by Moody’s — one of the biggest credit rating agencies in the world.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
As far back as 2008, I can remember asking Duncan why he wasn’t freezing civil service salaries, given the downturn in the economy.
It’s tempting to say he spent like a drunken sailor, but that’s an insult to sailors.
In eight years, the Liberals have doubled the debt — from $110 to $200 billion.
Spending on government programs has soared more than 70% as they’ve added costly vote-getting frills like all-day kindergarten.
They’ve squandered cash for votes — such as the estimated $1 billion they’ll spend cancelling the unpopular gas-fired power plant in Mississauga. They’ve given massive pay hikes to Liberal-friendly unions.
Now Moody’s has made it official. Worse, they warn our Double A credit rating could be at risk if Duncan doesn’t get the debt under control.
In a press release, analyst Jennifer Wong says the change ,“reflects Moody’s assessment of risks surrounding the province’s ability to meet its medium term fiscal targets given the recent slowdown in provincial economic growth and the resulting risks to the province’s ability to stabilize the recent accumulation in debt.
“The negative outlook on the province reflects the softening economic outlook, Ontario’s growing debt burden, and the extended
timeframe to achieving a balanced budget.”
“While Ontario retains sufficient fiscal flexibility inherent in the institutional framework to adjust its fiscal outcomes, thereby improving its financial position, difficult policy decisions are required.”
And she warned that if the province doesn’t stabilize the debt in the next budget, our good credit rating could be threatened.
“We believe that increased fiscal discipline will be required to sustain debt affordability,” said Wong.
Duncan was on the defensive at a hastily called press conference Thursday night.
“We do have to make some very difficult choices in the coming years to ensure that we stay on the track back to balance,” he told reporters.
“There are a number of challenging decisions ahead. We are going to have to be relentless in our pursuit of transformation to ensure that we make sure that we are focusing our resources on those pivotal areas that are going to be important to job growth in the future.”
He wouldn’t elaborate on just which parts of government will be “transformed,” but insisted it will be a “transformational agenda as opposed to straight across the board cuts.”
Hmm. Methinks I see a pattern emerging here. If the federal Tories cut, it’s “slash and burn.” When provincial Liberals cut, it’s “transformational.”
Tory MPP Monte McNaughton blamed the ratings watch on Liberal incompetence.
“We have a record deficit in Ontario. We have a government that’s doubled the debt since they’ve taken office. Ontario is in bad fiscal shape and we have a larger deficit per capita than in all the other provinces combined.
“It’s just complete incompetence on the part of Premier Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan,” McNaughton said.
The credit watch makes it tough for Duncan to argue with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty when he talks about the need to cut transfers.
And it all sets the stage for economist Don Drummond’s highly anticipated report on where the province should cut to get the deficit and debt under control. This report justifies unpopular cuts that are in the works.
How does the ad go? Fiscal prudence. Respect for our children and our grandchildren’s financial future – priceless.
There are some things money can’t buy.
For everything else, Dwight Duncan thinks you can put it on the province’s maxed out Mastercard.
Not any more."
When will Wendy Metcalfe's Wrong-Righters at Sun Media's (that's for, you, Kinsella) Liberal-friendly St.Catharines Standard ever dare bother to ask their secretive Grit buddy MPP Jim 'Slash and Burn' Bradley all about his sudden "transformational" Liberal hypocrisy?!!